USA Team Handball today announced the 16-player roster that will travel to Mexico on Thursday to take on the host country, Chile and Puerto Rico in the Pan American Team Handball Federation Division I tournament. The top two teams advance to the 2009 Pan American Championships to be held in either Chile or Brazil next June.
Thirteen of the 16 players have ties to the Women's National Team residency program that was headquartered in Cortland, NY from 2004 to 2007, including team captain Tomuke Ebuwei and France-based players Jennifer Farrell, Kathy Darling and Megan Ballard.
The three new faces include two goalkeepers. Joining veteran Jacque Messel is Erika Woodbury, one of the top players in BYU women's soccer history. Woodbury earned NCAA All-West Region honors in 2007 capping a career in which she posted 40 shutouts and helped the Cougars to two NCAA tournaments. Michelle Fratto is the No. 3 keeper on the team. An undergraduate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Fratto joins the national team for the first time - having impressed USA Team Handball staff at the Chicago Inter tournament last month.
The third new face is also the youngest. Farida Abou-Zeida earned a spot on the roster through a standout performance at the Chicago tryout. The 17-year-old was a highly decorated player in Cairo, Egypt before moving to Alabama.
Sarah Gascon, Jennifer Haubrich and Farrell are expected to occupy the pivot position. Ebuwei, Darling, Ballard, Anne Coulter and Abou-Zeida will line up as backs - with Cortland State products Melanie McCormick and Jen Robertson expected to run the wings along with Tabby Lowey, Erin Kizer and Maren McCrary.
The team will be coached by Marko Brezic, assisted by Edina Batar, who played for the team as recently as 2007 before suffering a knee injury. David Gascon will lead the delegation, and Anthony Neeson will serve as athletic trainer.
Be sure to visit http://www.usateamhandball.org/ every day for the next week for news, results and information about this tournament.
Complete roster follows:
|LAST||FIRST||POSITION||DATE OF BIRTH||COLLEGE||HOMETOWN|
|Messel||Jacque||GK||08/17/1979||Army||Mt. Pleasant, IA|
|Woodbury||Erika||GK||05/13/1986||Brigham Young||Murrieta, CA|
|Darling||Kathy||Back/C||08/24/1981||Johns Hopkins||Milford, DE|
|Ebuwei||Tomuke||Back||06/07/1976||Penn State||Washington DC|
|Farrell||Jen||Circle||06/22/1982||Duke||Los Angeles, CA|
|Gascon||Sarah||Back||01/12/1982||SE Louisiana||San Pedro, CA|
|McCrary||Maren||Wing||06/01/1978||Brigham Young||Denver, CO|